- Harry Potter: "I don’t believe this. Fudge is blaming the breakout on Sirius?"
- Hermione Granger: "What other options does he have? He can hardly say, ‘Sorry everyone, Dumbledore warned me this might happen, the Azkaban guards have joined Lord Voldemort and now Voldemort’s worst supporters have broken out too.’ I mean, he’s spent a good six months telling everyone you and Dumbledore are liars, hasn’t he?"
- — Harry and Hermione discuss this article.[src]
MASS BREAKOUT FROM AZKABAN was a Daily Prophet article about the 1996 mass breakout from Azkaban, in which ten Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, and Augustus Rookwood, were able to break out of their cells with the help of the Dementor guards, who had switched sides and were following Lord Voldemort. The article included pictures of each Death Eater that escaped, with a brief caption stating their primary crimes, which were large enough to take up the majority of the paper's front page. The article also included a brief interview with Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, in which he voiced his opinion that Sirius Black was the mastermind behind the breakout.
The article had a profound effect upon the staff and students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rumours began to spread that the escaped Death Eaters had been seen around Hogsmeade, and even that they were using the Shrieking Shack as a hideout to mount an assault on Hogwarts Castle. Those related to wizards and witches killed or otherwise affected by the escapees, such as Susan Bones, received an unwanted amount of attention. The article also spawned a growing discontent with the Minstry of Magic, with many finding Fudge's explanation of the incident lacking and beginning to consider the only other possibility: that Harry and Dumbledore's version of events was the correct one.
The article also caused Dolores Umbridge, in her role as Hogwarts High Inquisitor, to attempt to further tighten her control over Hogwarts. This led to the passing of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Six, which prevented the staff from discussing the mass breakout or any other subject unrelated to their curriculum with students, and a further degree of observation over Sybill Trelawney and Rubeus Hagrid, both of which she was determined to find reasonable cause to sack.
The Ministry of Magic announced late last night that there has been a mass breakout from Azkaban.
Speaking to reporters in his private office, Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, confirmed that ten high-security prisoners escaped in the early hours of yesterday evening, and that he has already informed the Muggle Prime Minister of the dangerous nature of these individuals.
"We find ourselves, most unfortunately, in the same position we were two and a half years ago when the murderer Sirius Black escaped," said Fudge last night. "Nor do we think the two breakouts are unrelated. An escape of this magnitude suggests outside help, and we must remember that Black, as the first person ever to break out of Azkaban, would be ideally placed to help others follow in his footsteps. We think it likely that these individuals, who include Black's cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, have rallied around Black as their leader. We are, however, doing all we can to round up the criminals and beg the magical community to remain alert and cautious. On no account should any of these individuals be approached."
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)